« AnteriorContinuar »
thence, very sad, pale, and exceedingly affected with the spleen. In his clothes and habit, which he had minded before always with more neatness and industry, and expence, than is usual to so great a soul, he was not now only incurious, but too negligent; and in his reception of suitors, and the necessary or casual addresses to ais place. so quick, and sharp, and severe, that there wanted not some men, strangers to his nature and disposition, who believed him proud and imperious, from which no mortal man was ever more free.
" It is true that as he was of a most incomparable gentleness, application, and even submission, to good, and worthy, and entire men, so he was naturally (which not but be more evident in his place, which subjected him to another conversation and intermixture than his own election would have done) adversus malos injucundus, and was so ill a dissembler of his dislike and disinclination to ill men that it was not possible for such not to discern it. There was once in the house of commons such a declared acceptation of the good service an eminent member had done to them, and, as they said, to the whole kingdom, that it was moved, he being present, that the speaker might, in the name of the whole house, give him thanks; and then that every member might, as a testimony of his particular acknowledgment, stir, or move his hat towards him; the which, though not ordered, when very many did, the Lord Falkland, who believed the service itself not to be of that moment, and that an honourable and generous person could not have stooped to it for any recompense, instead of moving his hat, stretched both his arms out, and clasped his hands together upon the crown of his hat, and held it close down to his head, that all men might see how odious that flattery was to him, and the very approbation of the person, though at that time the most popular.
“When there was any overture or hope of peace, he would be more erect and vigorous, and exceedingly solicitous to press any thing which he thought might promote it; and, sitting among his friends, often, after a deep silence, and frequent sighs, would with a shrill and sad accent, ingeminate the word peace, peace, and would passionately profess that the very agony of the war, and the view of the calamities and desolation of the kingdom did and must endure, took his sleep from him, and would shortly break his heart. This made some think, or pretend to think, that he was so much enamoured on peace that he would have been glad the king should have bought it at any price, which was a most unreasonable calumny; as if a man that was himself the most punctual and precise in every circumstance that might reflect upon conscience or honour could have wished the king to have committed a trespass against either. And yet this senseless scandal made some impression upon him, or at least he used it for an excuse of his daringness of spirit; for at the leaguer before Gloucester, when his friends passionately reprehended him for exposing his person unnecessarily to danger (for he delighted to visit the trenches and nearest approaches and to discover what the enemy did) as being so much beside the duty of his place that it might be understood rather to be against it, he would say merrily that his office could not take away the privilege of his age, and that a secretary in war might be present at the greatest scene of danger ; but withal alleged seriously that it concerned him to be more active in enterprizes of hazard than other men, that all might see that his impatiency for peace proceeded not from pusillanimity, or fear to adventure his own person.
“In the morning before the battle, as alway upon action, he was very cheerful, and put himself in the first rank of the Lord Byron's regiment, then advancing upon the enemy, who had lined the hedges on both sides with musqueteers, from whence he was shot with a musquet in the lower part of the belly, and, in the instant falling from his horse, his body was not found till the next morning, till when there was some hope he might have been taken prisoner, though his nearest friends, who knew his temper, received small comfort from that imagination. Thus fell that incomparable young man, in the four and thirtieth year of his age, having so much despatched the true business of life that the eldest rarely attain to that immense knowledge, and the youngest enter not into the world with more innocency. Whosoever leads such a life needs to be less anxious upon how short warning it is taken from him.”
We are informed that Falkland was low in stature “ and smaller than most men; his motion not graceful, and his aspect so far from inviting that it had somewhat in it of simplicity.” His voice was harsh, and his whole appearance more repulsive than inviting. Yet within so forbidding an exterior dwelt one of the most amiable, accomplished, and hightoned spirits of the proudest day of England's history. There is a curious anecdote recorded of him and the sovereign to whose cause he sacrificed his life. It is said that whilst he was with Charles at Oxford, he accompanied his majesty one day to the Bodleian library, where, among other bibliographical curiosities, they were shown a very splendid edition of Virgil. While examining the volume, Falkland, to divert the king, proposed that he should try the Sortes Virgilianæ, a well known speciez of divination in use amongst scholars. The king complying, opened the volume at random, and alighted upon the well-known lines in Dido's imprecation, thus translated by Dryden:
“ Oppress'd with numbers in the unequal field,
Torn from his subjects, and his son's embrace." The king, it is said, was not a little disconcerted at the omen ; whereupon
Falkland tried the sortes himself, but received an equally ominous response. The passage which he turned up was that in which Evander thus laments the untimely death of his son Pallas :
" () Pallas! thou hast failed thy plighted word,
Prelude of bloody fields and fights to come!" Lord Falkland wrote and published a number of political and some polemical tracts. Among the former were: “A speech on ill-counsellors about the king ;' 'A speech against the lord-keeper Finch and the Judges ;' "A speech against the Bishops. Among the latter, · A discourse on the infallibility of the church of Rome. Bishop Barlow in. forms us that he assisted Chillingworth in his Religion of Protestants.' There is a memoir of the viscountess Falkland iu Gibbon's "Memoirs of Pions Women.' His son Henry Lucius inherited a considerable portion of his father's talents and reputation.
Spencer, Earl of Sunderland.
BORN A. D. 1620.-DIED A. D. 1643.
This amiable young nobleman was the eldest son of William, second Lord Spencer, by Penelope, daughter of the earl of Southampton. He was born at Althorpe, in Northamptonshire, in 1620. He completed his education at Magdalene college, Oxford. On the death of his father, in 1636, he succeeded to an immense estate. In 1639 he married Lady Dorothy Sidney, the celebrated Sacharissa of Waller, daughter of the earl of Leicester. On taking his seat in the house of peers he espoused the popular side at first, and was almost immediately appointed lord-lieutenant of his native county. When, however, the dissensions between the king and his subjects came to an open rupture, Spencer followed Charles to York. The principles and feelings which determined him to espouse the royal cause may be gathered from a few letters written by him to his lady, preserved in Collins' collection. In one of these he says: “ The king's condition is much improved of late. His force increaseth daily, which increaseth the insolence of the papists. How much I am unsatisfied with the proceedings here, I have at large expressed in several letters ; neither is there wanting daylie handsome occasion to retire, were it not for gaining honour; for let occasion be never so handsome, unless a man resolve to fight on the parliament side -which, for my part, I had rather be hanged-it will be said a man is iafraid to fight. If there could be an expedient found to salve the punctilio of honour, I would not continue here an hour. The discontent that I, and many other honest men, receive daily, is beyond expression.” In another letter, he complains of the folly of the catholic party in opposing any attempt at accommodation with the parliament, and expresses his determination to give such a treaty his utmost support.
On the 8th of June, 1643, the king rewarded the gallantry which he had displayed in the battle of Edgehill by advancing him to the dignity of earl of Sunderland. Soon after he writes to his wife from before Gloucester, “ Many of the soldiers are confident that we shall have the town within this four days, which I extremely long for; not that I am weary of this siege, for really, though we suffer many
inconveniences, yet I am not ill-pleased with this variety, so directly opposite as the being in the trenches, with so much good company, together with the noise and tintamarre of guns and drums, with the horrid spectacles and hideous cries of dead and hurt men, as to the solitariness of my quarter, together with all the markes of peace, which often brings into my thoughts, notwithstanding your mother's opinion of me, how infinitely more happy I should esteem myself quietly to enjoy your company at Althorp, than to be troubled with the noise and engaged in the factions of the court, which I shall ever endeavour to avoid.' On the 20th of September, 1643, this excellent youth was mortally wounded by a can. non-bullet in the battle of Newbury.
George, Lord Goring.
DIED A. D. 1645.
Sir George Gring of Hurst-Pierrepont, in Sussex, was, in early life, the friend and companion of Henry, prince of Wales. In 1629, he was created Lord Goring, and in 1645 was advanced to the title of earl of Norwich, which had then become extinct by the death of his niaternal uncle, Edward Denny.
Sir George married wlien very young, and appears to have been of extremely imprudent habits, if not of dissolute morals also. Wentworth, in a letter dated 20th of May, 1633, says, “ Young Mr Goring is gone to travel, having run himself out of £8,000, which he purposes to redeem by his frugality abroad, unless my lord of Cork, (his father-inlaw) can be induced to put to his helping hand, which I have undertaken to solicit for him the Lest I can.” Soon after his arrival on the continent he took up the profession of arms, and, through the influence of his friends, obtained the command of Lord Vere's regiment in the Low Countries. In this command he greatly distinguished himself, and was present at the siege of Breda, where he was severely wounded in 1637.
In 1641, we find him governor of Portsmouth, then the strongest and best-fortified place in England. In this situation he contrived for a length of time to act a singularly deceitful and double part. He was one of the first to advise Charles to march the army upon London, in order to overawe the country-party, and was the first also to disclose the whole scheme to the indignant commons. Deceived by his protes. tations, and anxious to secure the services of a man of so much military experience, the parliament raised him to the rank of lieutenant-general of their forces, and appointed him to organise and discipline the new levies. He did not indeed accept the commission, but he pleaded in excuse the necessity of his giving his personal superintendence to the construction of some new fortifications at Portsmouth. In November, 1641, he was summoned before the house, and required to explain some suspicious circumstances in his recent conduct. Sir Edward Nicholas, in a letter to the king, thus notices the circumstance :-“Col. Goring gave the house of commons good satisfaction, Saturday last, touching his fidelity and good affections, and was therefore dismissed." He was, however, secretly preparing to throw off the mask; but in the meantiine he proved himself a perfect adept in the art of dissimulation. “He could help himself,” says Clarendon,” with all the insinuations of doubt, or fear, or shame, or simplicity, in his face, that might gain belief to a greater degree than I ever saw any man; and could seem the most confounded when he was best prepared, and the most out of countenance when he was best resolved ; and to want words, and the habit of speaking, wheu they flowed from no man with greater power.”—At length he received a peremptory order to join the army, and unable any longer to avoid disclosing his real sentiments, he returned for answer that he could not on honour quit his command without the royal permission. In a few days, Portsmouth was invested by the parliamentary forces. This was the first step in
the civil war. The king immediately proclaimed Essex and the officers under him traitors, unless they should return to their duty within the space of six days, and the two houses declared the proclamation a libellous and scandalous paper.
With the inconsistency which marked his whole actions, Goring made no defence, but capitulated on the single condition that he should be allowed to transport himself beyond the seas. In 1644, he again returned to England, and obtained a command in the marquess of Newcastle's army. Soon after, he superseded Lord Wilmot, as general of the horse under Rupert. In the winter of the following year he was made lieutenant-general of Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey, and Kent; but his conduct did great injury to the king's cause. The fact is, Goring wis now a thoroughly demoralized man, with none of the qualities of a military commander but that of mere animal courage. The example of his loose and licentious habits soon infected the soldiery under his coinmand. At Salisbury, Clarendon tells us, “ his horse comiditted the saine horrible outrages and barbarities as they had done in Hampshire, without distinction of friends or foes, so that those parts which before were well-devoted to the king, worried by oppression, wished for the access of any troops to redeem them." Equally unsatisfactory was the result of most of his military enterprises. He failed to reduce Weymouth; he declined to undertake the siege of Taunton ; and he omitted several favourable opportunities of giving battle to Sir William Waller, in Somersetshire. It is difficult to account for the influence which, notwithstanding these signal and repeated failures and gross misconduct, he contrived to exercise with both Charles and the prince. On the 10th of May, 1645, he was admitted to the council of the latter, and invested with almost absolute military powers. In this situation his conduct was marked by the most inordinate ambition, by insolence, and by imbecility. He did some good service at Taunton, but neutralized it all by the gross errors which he almost immediately afterwards fell into. Routed by Fairfax at Bridgewater, he refused to march with the remains of his horse to join the king at Newark, and suddenly solicited the prince's permission to visit France for a time. Nor did he wait for the permission thus solicited, but hastily transported himself to the continent, whence he never returned. What became of him afterwards is not very distinctly known. Dugdale informs us tiat he obtained a lieutenant-general's commission in Spain, but being corrupted by Cardinal Mazarine, he was seized at the head of his troops, and sent prisoner to Madrid, where he was soon after put to death for treason.
Edward, Lord Werbert.
BORN A. D. 1581.-DIED A. D. 1648.
EDWARD Herbert, commonly called Lord Herbert of Cherbury, was the eldest son of Sir Richard Herbert, a gentleman of very
ancient fainily. He was born at his father's seat, Montgomery castle, in Wales, in 1581. At the early age of twelve, he was sent to the university of Oxford. At the age of fifteen he married an heiress of his own